All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.
When talking with parents and educators that work with young readers, there are a few common questions that surface. Here are a few quick answers and ideas that might help!
Why is it ok my child has this book memorized? It's not real reading.
Actually, it is real reading! There are a lot of pre-literacy skills that are needed as stepping stones for reading. When a reader reads a story that is essentially memorized, they are showing understanding of some pre-literacy skills such as:
- pulling from memory what the story sounds like
- sequencing the story
- showing that they understand the page breaks and turning the page at an appropriate time
- matching pictures with the words they are saying (an important strategy for when they begin figuring out unknown words)
- reading the story in a fluent manner
Why is it ok to read the same book over and over and over?
I bet you even have some stories memorized at this point! But when a child has found a beloved story:
- something in that story resonates with the child at this time and place - if our goal is to make them life long readers, we need to support them where are now... even if that means reading Where the Wild Things Are one more time!
- your child will not always want to hear that same book - it will change! But by acknowledging their choice, gives them positive reading feedback and reading experiences.
- allows them to become so familiar with a story, they will be able to read it in their own way soon enough (and go back to question #1 when that happens!)
- hearing stories are an excellent way of increasing your young child's vocabulary, but hearing it once, is not enough for it to resonate with your child. Every time you reread that book, you're making sure your child hears it, again and again!
- your child's comprehension of that story increases with each reading. Think about your own reading - how deep is your understanding of a story after just one read? With each subsequent reading, new connections are made, new questions may be asked, or your child may carry a new thought across the story.
My child is showing interest in reading. Should I get "Hooked on Phonics", workbooks or leveled readers?
No, no and no. All of these things have some commonalities. They are easy to find. They are relatively easy to figure out. And it makes us feel like we're helping our child, right? Yes, but... First of all, pat yourself on the back for wanting to help your child with this major milestone. Reading is absolutely developmental and yes, there are steps to follow. But, let your child's educators do that part. What can you do? Read to your child. Talk to them about the story. I know that sounds easy, but it's easy to not do too. Here are some things to think about:
- let your child take the lead in choosing the books they want to hear. It might not be your favorite, but put aside your book judgements and read to them - trust me, reading Barbie stories were not my favorite, but we had some in our piles!
- find a time that works to consistently read to your child. Maybe bedtime isn't the perfect time. If you find that it's hard to fit that into your routine, then find another time that can be consistent.
- most libraries have a section of books that are intended for readers who are beginning their reading journey. Ask your librarian where to find those books.
- leveled readers make sense, right? Start with level 1 and work your way up! Not so! As Alyson showed us last year, not all levels are created equal. Check out her post here. A better way of knowing what type (not level) books your child is reading at is take a look at the books they are reading at school (if they are not sent home on a nightly basis, ask your child's teacher if they could send home a few for your to see). Notice how many words are in a sentence, how many sentences on a page. Take a look at the words - mostly sight words? Is most of the text supported by illustrations? How many pages? See if you can find books that match what you notice. No idea where to start? Bring that information to your librarian. I bet they'll be able to help!
I hope these ideas give you a good starting point. And if all anything else - just read to your child! That's what they need!
Be sure to check out Alyson's post about the new Elephant and Piggie Like Reading book!
Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading? Link up here!